A Lesson for Computer Geeks

The news of a teenage British tech sensation, Nick D’Aloisio whose self-built mobile phone app Summly was bought by Yahoo in what is rumored to be a massive payout, has been making raves in the British tech arena for a sometime now. At 17, Nick is a rich guy and is already building a nice reputation for himself. Summly is one of several apps that D’Aloisio has designed. It uses complex algorithms to automatically condense online news content into attractive little blocks of text that are useful for the small screens of smartphones.

However, it all started with ‘learning movie-making software’ for this young lad, before he moved unto programming languages. The app was only available on Apple’s app store meaning it was most likely built with Apple’s preferred Objective C, a very unpopular programming language amongst the techies.

Nick D’Aloisio at 17, has created an app that is making waves

The question now is ‘Why are so many developers in Nigeria not bursting into limelight?’ Aside the other circumstances that prevail to ensure that your work never gets seen by those who matter, I observe that around here we spend a lot of time and pay a lot of attention as it turns out, to debating which language is good, which is more flexible, portable, easy to learn and all that. We go on to discuss how good we are with each of them and even begin to compare our skills with that of the next guy.

This is the sad reality of turning a tool into a point of discussion instead of harnessing its potential in order to get work done. In the end, the question won’t be how well you can maneuver each language but rather what you have done, with emphasis on ‘work done’. For techies like Steve Jobs, Mark Zukerbergs and even Nick D’Aloisio what counts for them in the business arena is what they have done, not how good they are at coding. As Seth Godin put it, ‘Striving to be smarter, better and faster helps us create our future. The risk is that merely discussing and collecting the tools turns into the point.’
So what have you created? It may be that your next frontier should be to get more brave instead of getting more vast or striving to be better.

– This is a guest post from Joshua, blogger at josoftblog.wordpress.com.